THE HOT LIST
Sadly some new restaurants did not make it into the book in time. Here are some new players that look set to impress in the coming months.
Headlining the food and beverage offerings at JW Marriott Singapore South Beach is Akira Back, the eponymous restaurant of the Korean-born, Aspen-raised and Japanese-trained chef. Dishes here are an amalgamation of influences: Jeju red snapper with chojang and orange tobikko; the signature tuna pizza, comprising wafer-thin slices of bigeye tuna, ponzu mayonnaise, truffle oil and micro shiso topping; and our favourite, the linecaught Pacific halibut pan-fried to a golden crisp and married with a rich soy beurre blanc sauce. 30 Beach Road, Singapore 189763 Tel: 6818 1914
Owned by Konstantino Blokbergen, a chef, culinary consultant and Katong resident, Firebake’s main focus is its sourdough breads, made using traditional, artisanal European methods. They are baked in two woodfired ovens handmade out of 37 tonnes of brick, sand and mortar.
The sourdough breads here are hefty, hearty loaves, which are served alongside a menu of small and sharing plates of contemporary European cuisine. The cured salmon with dill and the mussels were excellent, and of course the range of breads—with its sweetly tangy flavour and soft yet dense texture—which is served with lightly smoked corn oil and fine butter. 237 East Coast Road, Level 1, Singapore 428930 Tel: 6440 1228
Occupying prime position on South Beach Avenue’s covered piazza lies Fynn’s, a casual modern Australian diner. We like the laidback vibe of the interior painted in warm tones, with rattan seats and sandcoloured marble tops.
On the dinner menu, handmade pasta like silky rivulets of crab meat taglierini are a delight to slurp up. If you’re only after nibbles, go for their small plates such as the juicy, pan-grilled Spanish octopus with lemongrass and apple spicy slaw. For dessert, try the chocolate semifreddo, embedded with Maldon salt and pink peppercorns. South Beach Avenue, B1-21, 26 Beach Road, Singapore 189768 Tel: 6384 1878
Hidden behind the recently-launched Fat Prince café and bar at Tanjong Pagar, The Ottoman Room dishes out New Middle Eastern feasts in opulence and decadence. Diners are treated to a mezze menu comprising a wide variety of hummus, including their signature Prince’s hummus with duck fat and lemon, and sweet potato hummus with chilli— this doesn’t require any order, and will be topped up throughout your meal. Be sure to order the apple-stuffed lamb shoulder, or the grilled fish with za’atar pesto and cucumber labneh. 48 Peck Seah Street, #01-01, Singapore 079317 Tel: 6221 3683
At newly opened Po, expect great, creative Singapore food with chef-owner and father of mod-sin cuisine Willin Low and executive chef William Lim in the kitchen. Together, they are amping up familiar local favourites from what Grandma used to cook.
Part of The Warehouse Hotel, Po occupies a historic godown by the Singapore River. A few standouts on the menu are barramundi, an elevated version of sliced fish salad with porridge using Kühlbarra barramundi; and carabinero prawns and konbu noodles, a riff on prawn mee with prized ingredients like Red Boat fish sauce and ebi sakura. The cocktail menu ranges from spice-based and complex to flirty and fun as it traces the hotel’s history at the heart of the spice trade, its godown days as a spirits/distillery street, and later as Warehouse Disco. 320 Havelock Road, Singapore 169628 Tel: 6828 0007
It may be the new kid on the Bugis block, but this contemporary Cantonese restaurant is helmed by prolific industry names: executive chef Wong Shea Nung, previously of Raffles Country Club’s fine dining Chinese establishment Fu Lin Men, and dim sum chef Leung Chi Man, who flexed his chops at Hong Kong’s famous East Ocean Seafood Restaurant.
Song Garden focuses on the celebration of textures and flavours on the palate. Think dishes like siew mai filled with local spicy mackerel otah paste instead of the traditional pork. Song Garden’s signature roasted chicken is prepared like Peking duck: its skin is first separated from the meat and stretched, dried, then roasted to glazed perfection, then served with pancake, sweet bean sauce and beancurd skin. Mercure Singapore Bugis, #02-01, 122 Middle Road, Singapore 188973 Tel: 6521 9299
More than just a new fine dining sushi-ya, Sushi Kimura is the philosophical vision of master chef Tomoo Kimura, who had spent over 20 years honing his craft. Formerly of awardwinning Ginza Sushi Ichi, chef Kimura serves up deeply seasonal edomae-style delicacies in a range of omakase menus at his new 22-seat restaurant in Palais Renaissance. Bespoke ingredients feature—premium grade nori from the first harvest hauled out of the Ariake sea, artisanal organic vinegar from a smallbatch Kyoto brewery, and Hokkaido spring water for cooking. Bag a seat at the 150-yearold Hinoki wood sushi counter, enjoy his affable service, and tuck into his sashimi, Bafun uni rice with ikura and onsen egg. Palais Renaissance, #01-07, Singapore 238871 Tel: 6734 3520 / 8428 0073
Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill
The look is elegant Raffles-meets-the-e&o at culinary doyenne Violet Oon’s new establishment, Violet Oon Satay Bar & Grill, at Clarke Quay. Here, refined versions of traditional satay and grilled dishes, cooked on a glass-cased charcoal grill, take centrestage.
The range of satays on offer are high end, featuring pork tenderloin in the Hainanese tradition, Angus beef, tiger prawns and the less common but no less traditional tripe. The grilled mains are creative presentations based on Peranakan flavours. The garam assam barramundi with pineapple and ginger flower is melt-in-yourmouth with spicy, well-balanced flavours. For dessert, don’t miss the chendol with durian pengat sauce served with gula melaka ice. A long communal table dominating the dining room invites guests to a traditional tok panjang, while the bar offers nostalgic concoctions reminiscent of colonial plantation tipples. Clarke Quay, #01-18, 3B River Valley Road, Singapore 179021 Tel: 9834 9935